Imagine being an engaged couple, filled with plans for your future together, when all of a sudden God makes an unexpected and dramatic entry into your life. This is the experience of Mary and Joseph. This is what we celebrate at Christmas.
Do we let Jesus into our lives, as Mary and Joseph did?
We may believe in Jesus. We may know Jesus. We may pray to Jesus. We may receive Him in the Eucharist. But do we let Jesus into our family, our friendships, our work, and our everyday lives?
Do we let Jesus come into the world through us? Are there areas where we try and keep Him out? Or, with loving trust, do we let “Jesus take the wheel” in everything?
So how can we let Jesus in?
1) Realize He comes for you.
We can have trouble wrapping our heads around this. Maybe because it’s so far beyond our ability to understand. God comes to save us
. No matter how lost, fallen, bruised, or wounded we may be: God comes for us. He comes to our rescue. He never leaves us alone. The first step to being close to Jesus is realizing that He comes to be close to you. He takes the initiative. Let us ask God for the grace to see how He is already present in our lives, always close to us.
2) Take time before the manger
. The season of Christmas can come and go so quickly. Between the gift-giving, the cooking, the decorating, and the well-wishing, Jesus can get lost in the shuffle. How powerful it can be to simply stand, sit, or kneel before the nativity scene, before the lowly manger where God comes to dwell among us. Let yourself be touched by Jesus who comes for you, and for all of humanity.
3) Let God turn your heart into a manger for Jesus.
Letting God into our lives doesn’t require a magic trick. We don’t need to convince God. Jesus comes. We just need to let Him in. Mary and Joseph knocked on so many doors looking for a place for Jesus to be born. So many inns were closed, otherwise occupied, and unaware of who was standing at their doorstep. On Christmas Night, when Joseph and Mary come looking for a place for Jesus to be born, will your heart be a closed inn or a manger that is open to welcome Christ?
Let us ask God to bring down the obstacles that prevent us from welcoming Him in every part of our lives. Jesus wants to come dwell in our hearts and through us come more powerfully into our world.
Jesus, open my heart to You. Come love in me. Come into my family. Come among my friends. Come into my school or workplace. Jesus, come into every part of my life. Come into our world. Come to save us. Come to our rescue. Jesus, open us to welcome You! For You come to us. Open us to the joy and wonder of Your coming.
Julian would be happy to hear from you, with any questions, insights, or suggestions you may have regarding this blog series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.